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Why Search Engine Page Ranking Matters For Law Firms

Search Engine Page Ranking

According to Google, search engine page ranking actually depends on millions of total factors. Your search engine Page Rank is a number from 0 to 10 that gives you a rough approximation of how popular you are in comparison to other pages all over the web. This guide will help you understand why search engine page ranking is so important and how to improve it in the way most likely to be recognized as acceptable by Google.

A History of Search Engine Page Rank

The idea of search engine page ranking was actually not part of the first search engines. These search engines tended to work by serving up results based on keyword densities and website traffic only. This meant that websites could very effectively game the system by putting the exact correct keyword density into their content, and immediately have a result that was among the top results for a search.

Google was a project initially designed to deliver smarter search results to web searchers. Instead of just looking at how often keywords appeared, Google decided to use a new idea called a search engine page rank. This meant that the search engine actually looked at how many other websites were linking to a site, and used that popularity measure as the main way of deciding which results should be served to users first.

Search engine page ranking delivered significantly better results to web users for a long time, catapulting Google into a dominating market share and causing other web searches to update their algorithms to include similar measures.

How Search Engine Page Rank is Calculated

If you are new to search engine page ranking, you might think that it's done on a linear scale—that is, that there would be about the same number of websites ranked 2 as websites ranked 3. However, this is not how search engine page rank values work. Instead, search engine page ranking is a logarithmic scale.

Current best estimates from studies around the web show that each page rank level requires approximately nine times the number of links as the level beneath it. This means that if you have a certain number of links and just managed to make your website become PR level 3, you'll need to have about nine times that number of links before you can expect a PR of 4.

Of course, Google has also had to deal with a number of people trying to optimize their websites using any means necessary. Because of this, an update called Google Panda actually took away the “link juice” of certain types of websites that had been abused to provide huge numbers of inbound links to low quality content. If you're engaging in this kind of linking strategy, your search engine page ranking may be substantially lower than your number of backlinks would initially suggest.

How Much Impact Does Search Engine Page Rank Have?

It can be surprising how much impact search engine page ranking has. Because your search engine page rank is a pretty good estimation of your level of inbound linking to a page, it is approximately 70 percent correlated with your overall SERPs. If you've got a very low search engine page ranking, you can expect that your search rankings will be much lower than similar websites with higher page rank values.

Google likes to say that Page Rank doesn't actually mean anything to search results, but this seems largely to be a calculated move designed to make sure that people don't focus too much on building their Page Rank at the expense of quality content. What Google likely means is that Page Rank only means something when it's used in conjunction with original content and a diverse range of link sources.

Improving Search Engine Page Rank: What to Do

In order to improve your search engine page ranking, you can start building new inbound links. It's a great idea to use social media sites to help with this, because these sites let you get out the word to your closest friends, family members, neighbors, and colleagues. These are the people most likely to give you backlinks without requiring anything at all in return.

You should make sure that you're building your links from as many different websites as you possibly can. Too many backlinks from the same IP address are suspicious to Google and can start actually having a negative effect on your search engine page ranking. It's also a good idea to make sure that the links you are building have a very wide variety of anchor text. Identical anchor text is an almost surefire sign of artificially built links—in natural link structures, very few links are actually based on exact keyword matches with SEO keywords in the article.

Improving Search Engine Page Rank: What NOT To Do

In your efforts to improve your search engine page ranking, make sure that you don't try to build links from phony blogs, or use phony reviews to pad out anything negative that people might see in your search results. This isn't just unethical, it's also very obvious.

You should also avoid any type of automated link building programs. In all honesty, these programs simply aren't sophisticated enough yet to avoid detection in the long term. While you may see a short term burst to your search engine page ranking, in the end it's very likely that you'll be penalized and will regret having used automation instead of building content through organic links.

The Future of Search Engine Page Rank

As Google becomes more and more advanced, the quality of links is going to matter more than their quantity. Google has already made significant strides toward this ideal in 2012 with its Panda and Penguin updates. In 2013, we can expect to see similar reactions to the loopholes that are currently being exploited by search engine optimization professionals.

In order to avoid your links becoming a game of whack-a-mole in which Google holds the mallet, you should focus on creating links that are actually good enough to withstand the test of time.

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